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Leaders clash over energy switching

Source BBC News@ tienganhvui.com


David Cameron


David Cameron has claimed Ed Miliband switched his energy supplier despite questioning the point of consumers shopping around, as the two clashed again on fuel bills in the Commons.


The prime minister said the Labour leader had followed his advice to look for a better deal despite attacking him in the past for urging other switch.


Mr Miliband said the only way to cut bills was "to switch prime ministers".


He called for an immediate price freeze - but the PM said this was a "con".


The party leaders clashed for the fourth time in a row about energy prices at Prime Minister's Questions.


'One-trick pony'

The Labour leader said the government's promise of a competition review reporting next year was inadequate, saying it would kick the issue "into the long grass" when consumers needed help straight away.


Mr Cameron said he wanted the competition review to start straight away and pointed out Labour peers in the House of Lords had backed calls for a de-carbonisation target which would actually force up household bills.


He said his Labour counterpart had switched his own supplier despite attacking the lack of competition in the market and that his new provider - which he did not name - opposed Mr Miliband's call for a 20-month price freeze.


"You switched your supplier. Yes. You went to of these insurgent companies to cut your bills. Isn't it typical - you come here every week and attack Tory policy and you go home and adopt Tory policy to help your own family."


Accusing Mr Miliband of being a "one-trick pony", Mr Cameron said greater switching was part of the more competitive market that he wanted and Labour's policy would result in "less choice, less competition and higher prices".


'PR man'

But Mr Miliband said the prime minister was a "PR man" for the energy industry and his rhetoric had gone "from Rambo to Bambi in four short years".


"Most energy companies don't want a price freeze," he told the prime minister. "Most consumers do - that's why energy companies are against a price freeze."


"You're so on the side of energy companies, we should call them the big seven - the prime minister and the big six energy companies."


Mr Cameron said the Labour leader had nothing to say about the economic recovery, calling on him to apologise for past claims that the UK was facing a "lost decade" of growth and that new private sector jobs would not replace those being cut in the private sector.


He also accused Mr Miliband of "weakness" over the proposed high-speed rail, saying that uncertainty in Labour ranks about whether to support the multi-billion pound infrastructure project was a "pathetic spectacle".


Labour has said it still supports the project but could cancel it if costs cannot be brought under control.





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